2 killed in wrong-way crash on Loop 303 near Bethany Home Road

Loop 303 wrong way
Fabian Grimaldo
Loop 303 wrong way
Posted at 4:51 AM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-30 12:33:36-05

A wrong-way crash Friday morning in the West Valley left two people dead and prompted the closure of a portion of Loop 303 for several hours.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials say the crash occurred just before 4 a.m. along southbound L-303 near Bethany Home Road.

A wrong-way driver in a pickup truck, identified as 21-year-old Fabian Javier Grimaldo, was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes when his truck collided with an SUV. DPS says the SUV driver, identified as 61-year-old Brian Vaughn of Surprise, died at the scene.

The driver and passenger of the wrong-way truck were taken to a hospital, where the passenger, identified as 21-year-old Joaquin Santiago Ruiz of Phoenix, died from his injuries.

Officials say the wrong-way driver is suspected of impairment and remains in the hospital.

Grimaldo was booked on two counts of manslaughter and one count of criminal damage.

Fabian Grimaldo - MCSO Booking Photo

Authorities were alerted of the wrong-way driver by other drivers who called it in. DPS says the Flux Alert system, used to detect wrong-way drivers, did not alert them of the incident.

Traffic was blocked in the area for several hours with southbound drivers being diverted off the L-303 at Bethany Home Road. The roadway reopened just before 9 a.m.